At a time where the world of contemporary art is constantly moving and thus diversifying, new means emerge to both experience and research themes found in art practice. Hence, collaborations such as that of interdisciplinary duo Spazio Visivo are becoming more commonplace. Exciting ventures such as that which has produced ‘Beyond Sight’ are accommodating indepth explorations into the aesthetic and beyond.
Comprising of spatial artist Paolo Cavinato and musician Stefano Trevisi, Spazio Visivo embrace and envelop the viewer from the first instance of arriving in the gallery. A constant yet disconcerting soundtrack fills the space with arguably a more significant presence than the physical elements of the exhibition. This is not to say that one track fits each sculptural work; every individual piece features its own audio system, instantly highlighting the synchronicity between visual and sonic artist. Forming a multisensory environment asserts the duo’s dominance on the viewer and sets up a challenging dynamic between the subjective experience of the individual and the seemingly uninterrupted presence of Cavinato and Trevisi in the space.
These strong gestures evoke a certain eerie sensation when maneuvering around ‘Beyond Sight’, as many of the 3D model works, such as various fragments of the ‘Hands’ installation, illustrate various ominous façades in the domestic sphere, such as empty staircases leading nowhere and desolate interior spaces. With the current trends of social media and technology, through which we find that less and less is truly palpable, the divide between ‘private’ and ‘public’ in both spatial and social terms is potentially a more fervent issue than ever. ‘Hands’, at the start of the exhibition, is made up of various sculptural parts attached to the wall. The wide array of materials, from textiles to glass, express the multifaceted nature of the artists’ collective work. Surreal use of mirrors in the installation make the viewer the central feature of the piece, as we find ourselves visually reflected in the work, subsequently making Cavinato’s use of quotidian, often banal, spaces deeply and profoundly personal.
Where the aesthetic and the sonic merges as one, there is an overriding sensation of the filmic, which is a rare quality, especially where there is a distinct lack of video art. Not only do the sound tracks, often shrill, evoke suspense that is not unlike a horror or thriller, but the recurrent empty spaces seem weighted with anticipation for some sort of apparition. With such great, sleek geometric traits, many of the boxlike sculptures, such as the captivating ‘Teatrino Drops’, appear to act as a central point between flourishing from audience interaction, (a water feature and synthetically painted white branches demand, and receive, great attention) and being its own entity. At points, the collaborative impact between sound and aesthetics feels like the completion of the piece, as opposed to the judgment of the viewer.
Perhaps acting as a confirmation of this is the immersive installation piece, ‘Threshold’, a large scale version of other models in the exhibition. The viewer walks into a mesmerising wooden booth, where rhythmic lighting flashes and softens, accentuating a fulllength mirror. With the tantalising instruction that only one participant may enter at any one time, we are transported away from the dense external reality of central London. Again, the role of the viewer is minimised, as the lighting has a powerful control over how visible we are in the reflection. Despite this, we feel that by standing within a piece, we are finally a significant part of the exhibition.
Where Spazio Visivo invite us to experience contemporary art beyond sight, it can be argued that we are indeed witnessing new works which are beyond interdisciplinarity. With evident influence from installation, architecture, film, sound, set design and sculpture, this selection of work at Rosenfeld Porcini does not provide the consciously ‘familiar’ sensation that is prevalent in much of contemporary art. Instead, we are treated to a progressive, refreshing exhibition which raises questions and awakens new ideas surrounding spatial theories and practices.
By Issey Scott
24th July to 30th September 2015, at Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery, 36 Newman St, London W1T 1PU.